3-D Printing of Living Tissue
Three-dimensional printers are fast becoming everyday devices in the United States. Three-D printers are used to make everything from automobile parts to bone replacements for human patients. American research scientists are now working on creating replacements for living tissue.
Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina have been working on creating and manufacturing living tissue since 2003. This process is called biofabrication. It requires special printing equipment and a special kind of ink.
Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina experiment with 3-D Printing of living tissue.
3-D bio-printer and Bio-inks
Traditional printers require ink to produce an image or design on a piece of paper. For their three-D printer, the South Carolina researchers prepare complex nutritious solutions they call bio-inks. Bio-inks are made of proteins and glucose, which normally provides energy for most cells of the body.
The researchers also add living cells taken from the animal that will receive the new, printed tissue. The bio-inks are then added to a device that researchers call the Palmetto bio-printer.
Michael Yost is a leader of the research team. He says the printing process is fully automated. He says that the Palmetto bio-printer makes it possible to create complex tissue types.
“And with our 3-D bio-printer, we have been able to create new microvascular networks that we can then grow new tissues in very key areas such as pancreas, liver and kidney.”
microvascular networks that we can then grow new tissues
The researchers say bio-printing is still experimental. But they hope in a few years they may be able to print tissue to replace damaged human organs.
This report was based on a story from Science in the News, VOA.